SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6
Our first day in Dublin was filled with more activity than usual. Often we touch down after our overnight flight, and spend the day catching up on lost sleep and getting our their feet under us. This year, fortified by the Gresham’s hearty Irish breakfast, we leapt into the fray.
Some of us went to the the Hugh Lane Gallery, one of Dublin’s municipal art galleries, for their Sunday Noon Free Concert. The concerts take place in the central sculpture gallery under a vaulted ceiling — an inspiring and sophisticated setting. The programme was unusual in that it was comprised completely of commissioned works; works that spanned a wide range of styles, from the melodic and lyrical to the atonal.
Another group went to the National Library’s Photographic Archive, located in Temple Bar. The archive has over 600,000 images from which it assembles fascinating exhibits. This year was a bit of a departure in that the exhibit featured the work of a contemporary photographer, Jeannette Lowe. The works focused on the life of Pearse House, a low income housing tract in Dublin. The vibrancy of the images, particularly the portraits of the children, were striking and very immediate.
Yet another group launched their theatre adventure, strolling down Grafton Street, Dublin’s main walking thoroughfare, to the Gaiety Theatre for a production of Samuel Beckett’s classic WAITING FOR GODOT. Mounted by the Gare St. Lazare Players Ireland, the production took an unusually conversational approach to the play. Some found it a welcome change from more presentational interpretations, others felt that the approach didn’t serve Estragon and Vladimir’s desperate search for meaning and hope.
It is easy to forget how radical this plotless work seemed to audiences around the world in the early 1950’s. Yet the wisdom of the work, and its deep poetry, soon became evident. Colm Toibin, one of Ireland’s foremost contemporary novelists, summed it up rather wisely and poetically himself in his note in the production program, contending that Beckett has given us: “a theatre-world in which a tramp has more truth in him, and indeed more lies, than a king or a prince, where the figure dispossessed is neither saved nor damned, and all the more human for that, and all the less.”
Sunday evening was given over to our traditional Welcome Banquet — the first opportunity for us all to meet each other in a social setting. The Banquet culminated in a witty and warm Welcome from Board Member Gail Perlman, followed by our now traditional Round of Introduction. CTC Artistic Director Byam Stevens closed the evening with an array of logistical information about the coming days and brief note congratulating the group for treating themselves to such an excellent adventure.